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Nelson finishes at the top

Brewton native earns 3rd place at nationals

Samford junior and Brewton native Karisa Nelson continued her brilliant season as one of the top distance runners in the nation with a top-three finish at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.

Nelson said she felt confident going into the race.

“I knew all the girls I was racing had a chance to win,” Nelson said. “We were all one or two seconds within each other.”

Nelson finished in third place in the 1,500 meter run with a time of 4.13.96. Nelson trailed second place winner, Arkansas’ Nikki Hiltz, and first place winner, Jaimie Phelan of the University of Michigan.

Hiltz finished with a time of 4:13.80. Phelan finished with a time of 4:13.78.

Nelson, who was named the South Conference Female Runner of the Year a week prior, led the race heading into the final lap. Down the stretch the pack of runners were stride for stride, making the contest anybody’s race.

Nelson seemed poised to overtake Phelan in the inside, but Hiltz sped up to take a brief lead. In the process she broke Nelson’s stride momentarily down the stretch. Phelan closed out the race, with Hiltz on her heels.

“I thought I had everything under control with 200 (meters) to go, but then (Phelan) came out of no where and got in front of me and boxed me in,” Nelson said. “I should have seen it coming. I had to slow down and find an opening to get out before 100 (meters) to go. I had to swing out in lane three and at that point I was in sixth. Then I just gave it everything I had to try to win and I came up a little short.”

Nelson will next compete in the USA Track & Field National Championships to be held June 22-25 in Sacramento, Calif. The meet has the top-24 of each event compete. Professionals and college athletes participate in the events.  The top three in each event will proceed to the World Championship in London.

Contributions of story made by samfordsports.com